Each person has a different pain tolerance, but there are a few very simple guidelines which can help you choose the best place to get a tattoo or a piercing. While piercing pain last for a lot less time during the procedure, some areas are more sensitive and might cause more pain in the long run.
Discover the least painful places to get tattoos and piercings, along with other good pain management options.
Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo
Tattoo numbing cream is always a good way to manage your pain, but you should except more than discomfort if this is your first experience at a tattoo parlor. The general rule of thumb is that area with more muscle and fat are better for less painful tattoos. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the most painful ones are either very close to bone or contain many blood vessels and nerve endings.
If you’re looking for places that are both feminine and less painful, going for a behind the ear tattoo is a great choice. You can also get a tattoo on your ear, since the pain when getting a tattoo directly on your cartilage is usually less intense.
The upper arm and upper shoulder are other good places for a tattoo. Going for a text or a small symbol will always be less painful that opting for an image that’s bigger. Other feminine places to get a tattoo are the waist and the thigh, usually considered as painful as the upper arm or shoulder, but more painful than behind the ear.
Ankle tattoos can get very painful if you decide to get them directly above the bone. Top finger tattoos and hip tattoos are a good option if you’re not dealing with your first piece of body art, because they can hurt more. Finally, your inner wrists and inner upper arms are good places for tattoos, but can be more painful that the ear or a calf tattoo.
Least Painful Places to Get a Piercing
Earlobes are the least painful place for a piercing, that’s why they’ve historically been the most popular area. If you want to stick to your ears, a conch piercing is definitely more painful than an earlobe one but the unpleasant sensation can vary.
Other popular piercing areas, like the septum or the nostril can hurt more, both during the procedure and in the long run, especially if they’re not done by a professional. The septum shouldn’t hurt a lot, but eyebrow piercings usually come with a more intense painful sensation. Navels are amongst the least painful places to get a piercing according to some women, but other place them above eyebrow piercings based on the level of pain.
Labret, tongue and frenulum piercings are also more painful, but in the mouth area lip piercings have the worst reputation when it comes to pain. No matter what area you choose to pierce, always get it done by a professional to decrease both the risk of pain and of infection.
If you’re thinking of getting a pierced nipple, expect a lot more pain, but for all the possible areas you can choose, remember that the size of the piercing is directly proportional to the level of pain. For a really sensitive area go for an 18 or 16 gauge, that will also allow you to heal faster.
When you’re under any medication, make sure to check the possible side-effects, because some treatment can increase the blood flow for open wounds and can that can add to the unpleasant parts of getting a piercing.
How to Reduce Pain When Getting a Tattoo or Piercing
Numbing cream is often used for tattoos, especially for beginners or for drawing on more sensitive areas. Make sure you ask for numbing cream, but don’t overdo it. When it comes in contact with a wide area of skin for a long time, numbing cream can cause trouble. Bring small earbuds and listen to your favorite music while you’re getting your new tattoo.
When it comes to piercings, you should be well hydrated. Never get piercings on an empty stomach since a sharp jolt of pain could cause you to pass out. Take an over the counter pain reliever before the process starts, but make sure it doesn’t contain any ibuprofen. This compound can help reduce any swelling once you’ve stopped bleeding, but it can also extend bleeding if you take it too soon.